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Center for Social Innovation

Philanthropy, Responsible Investing

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[photo - Trae Vassallo, general partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and cofounder]

For this venture capitalist, it all comes down to connecting with people – from family to coworkers to customers.

Resource: News Article
[photo - Gratitude]

Expressions of gratitude motivate others’ prosocial behavior. When people are thanked for their efforts, they experience stronger feelings of social worth, which inspires them to engage in further helpful acts. In short, gratitude proves to be the gift that keeps on giving because it makes others feel valued.

Resource: News Article

Social entrepreneurs, those organizations and individuals who work to improve major social issues, don't have the networks and financial systems of traditional entrepreneurs, Sally Osberg, president of the Skoll Foundation told a Stanford MBA audience. Like Ginger Rogers dancing in a 1940's musical, they face the same issues as traditional entrepreneurs, but must do it backwards in high heels.

Resource: News Article
[photo - Rupert Scofield]

Social enterprises hold potential to "effect the kinds of changes our society needs right now," social entrepreneur Rupert Scofield told a Stanford student audience.

Resource: News Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Fall 2011

Technologies that reduce costs and improve care for the underserved are often the most difficult to scale up. But a handful of strategies could turn things around.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
[photo - Trae Vassallo, general partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and cofounder]

For this venture capitalist, it all comes down to connecting with people – from family to coworkers to customers.

Resource: News Article
[photo - Gratitude]

Expressions of gratitude motivate others’ prosocial behavior. When people are thanked for their efforts, they experience stronger feelings of social worth, which inspires them to engage in further helpful acts. In short, gratitude proves to be the gift that keeps on giving because it makes others feel valued.

Resource: News Article

Social entrepreneurs, those organizations and individuals who work to improve major social issues, don't have the networks and financial systems of traditional entrepreneurs, Sally Osberg, president of the Skoll Foundation told a Stanford MBA audience. Like Ginger Rogers dancing in a 1940's musical, they face the same issues as traditional entrepreneurs, but must do it backwards in high heels.

Resource: News Article
[photo - Rupert Scofield]

Social enterprises hold potential to "effect the kinds of changes our society needs right now," social entrepreneur Rupert Scofield told a Stanford student audience.

Resource: News Article

In this Spring 2011 Prosocial Behavior Research Column, Frank Flynn explores research showing that the most generous, trusting, and helpful people are not those with more money, but, rather, those with less. Individuals in lower socio-economic classes tend to act in a more prosocial fashion because of a greater commitment to egalitarian values and heightened feelings of compassion for others. Put simply, the life stressors and challenges faced by those who struggle economically often spur greater social cooperation. Might the "haves" take a lesson from the altruism of the "have nots?"

Resource: News Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Fall 2011

Technologies that reduce costs and improve care for the underserved are often the most difficult to scale up. But a handful of strategies could turn things around.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Fall 2011

The time is now for foundations, large and small, to engage in public policy.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Fall 2011

Chris West takes a businesslike approach to philanthropy, looking for ways to leverage the assets of the Shell Foundation and its corporate parent to improve the lives of low-income people in the developing world.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Summer 2011

GIVING WELL: The Ethics of Philanthropy by Patricia Illingworth, Thomas Pogge, & Leif Wenar

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article
Stanford Social Innovation Review: Summer 2011

“One death is a tragedy; 1 million is a statistic,” Joseph Stalin is supposed to have said. The more people we see suffering, the less we care.

Resource: Stanford Social Innovation Review Article

There are two kinds of philanthropy products: financial products and information products.  They used to be bundled together, in the form of foundation staff, personal advisors, or community foundation program officers.  In the early 1990s the advent of national donor advised funds showed that a huge market existed for unbundled products.  The market worked, but now we are seeing another change in philanthropic giving due to the rise of the internet.

Resource: Blog Post

The Global Impact Investment Initiative (GIIN) is an important, but still forming, coalition of investors who focus on both social and environmental impact as well as financial return.  GIIN wants to have a positive impact on poverty, economic justice and a sustainable environment. That means it needs to counter the exclusive nature of its innate and valuable club and be sure to include the voices and the perspectives of all; it has to be inclusive. 

Resource: Blog Post

Scared foundations now regret hoarding their grants

Resource: Blog Post

The Peter C. Alderman Foundation uses rigorous analysis to outlast hundreds of failed nonprofits that were launched in response to 9/11.

Resource: Blog Post

As charitable causes are brought to the fore front by the release of movies like “Slumdog Millionaire,” and celebrity actions like the prospect of adopting a new white house dog, questions of how intent should impact charitable decisions arise. 

Resource: Blog Post
Video/Audio : All | Audio | Video
[photo - Jacob Lief]

By a simple twist of fate, Jacob Leif found himself in post-apartheid South Africa, staring at a big paradoxical break in philanthropy - success was measured in numbers instead of long-term impact. While working at a local school, he found that supplies of books, computers, and daily lunches for the school children were plentiful. However, once the supporting nonprofit left after the funding cycle finished, the school returned right back to where it started. Lief decided to found Ubuntu Education Fund, an organization that works to support children living in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. In this episode of The Social Disruptors, Ned Breslin and Jacob Lief discuss the struggles of funding for long-term sustainable impact within the current philanthropic system of 12-month grant cycles.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Willa Seldon]

How do we prevent collaboration from sweeping through nonprofits as a passing fad? In this discussion panel at the Nonprofit Management Institute, Willa Seldon talks with experts Carolyn Nelson and Stephanie Couch on how to avoid wasting time and effort by effectively evaluating goals and necessities before collaborating.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Cameron Conaway]

In the nonprofit world, people talk about the importance of failure so often it has become cliché. Failure as a way to learn from your mistakes and improve your work. As a former Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter, Cameron Conaway knows a lot about failure and the value of confronting fear and risk head on, literally. At the same time, Cameron also knows the importance of reflecting and pivoting to become more successful – and he has used that understanding to not only win fights but to write powerful poetry. In this podcast, Ned Breslin speaks with the MMA fighter and poet about this difficult balance and how you know when it’s time to “tap out” of the fight.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Photo: Doug McAdam]

How are engaged citizens made? In this audio lecture, sponsored by the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Stanford sociology professor Doug McAdam argues that youth volunteering does not directly result in active citizens or a robust civil society. Instead, the responses to youth activism are varied and driven by historical and cultural context.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Mark Kramer]

This audio interview from the Environmental Defense Fund's Future of Green Calls covers complex interactions of the philanthropy sector, socially conscientious nonprofit organizations, and for-profit businesses with FSG Co-Founder Mark Kramer. Kramer outlines how corporate social responsibility (CSR) acts as a lever to minimize environmental harms done by daily business activities. Also covered are how natural resources are consumed by industries and a discussion about sustainability practices.

Resource: Audio
[Video-Does Impact Investing Really Have Impact?]

Impact investing: is it actually investing? Or is it venture philanthropy by another name?

Resource: Video
[Video-Using Entrepreneurial Approaches to Solve the Problems of Global Poverty]

In turbulent times like ours, we need “hard-edged hope,” says Jacqueline Novogratz, the much-celebrated founder of the Acumen Fund. Affirming that the world is indeed a better place now than it was 40 years ago, she traces her own journey from a childhood witnessing racial inequities all around her in Detroit to a career leading the field of social impact investing. Novogratz rallies the community of Stanford business graduates to be part of the new generation of innovative problem solvers.

Resource: Video
[Video-Opportunities In Environmental Area]

How do environmental challenges create growth opportunities, new markets, and innovation? Two Goldman Sachs managers discuss how their investment firm is making the financing of corporate deals contingent upon the incorporation of increasingly stringent environmental criteria.

Resource: Video
[Video-Community Foundations]

Community foundations have become an increasingly common outlet for charitable giving in the United States. In this panel discussion, led by Julie Juergens, the director of the Center for Social Innovation, community foundation leaders discuss innovative models for foundations as well as challenges faced by this sector.

Resource: Video
[Video-Value Creation]

The nonprofit sector delivers social value and the for-profit sector delivers economic value, right? Wrong! Jed Emerson argues that value is nondivisible, whole, and blended. He invites us to think beyond philanthropy, corporate social responsibility, social enterprise, and other limiting mindsets.

Resource: Video
[Video-Does Impact Investing Really Have Impact?]

Impact investing: is it actually investing? Or is it venture philanthropy by another name?

Resource: Video
[photo - Jacob Lief]

By a simple twist of fate, Jacob Leif found himself in post-apartheid South Africa, staring at a big paradoxical break in philanthropy - success was measured in numbers instead of long-term impact. While working at a local school, he found that supplies of books, computers, and daily lunches for the school children were plentiful. However, once the supporting nonprofit left after the funding cycle finished, the school returned right back to where it started. Lief decided to found Ubuntu Education Fund, an organization that works to support children living in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. In this episode of The Social Disruptors, Ned Breslin and Jacob Lief discuss the struggles of funding for long-term sustainable impact within the current philanthropic system of 12-month grant cycles.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Willa Seldon]

How do we prevent collaboration from sweeping through nonprofits as a passing fad? In this discussion panel at the Nonprofit Management Institute, Willa Seldon talks with experts Carolyn Nelson and Stephanie Couch on how to avoid wasting time and effort by effectively evaluating goals and necessities before collaborating.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Cameron Conaway]

In the nonprofit world, people talk about the importance of failure so often it has become cliché. Failure as a way to learn from your mistakes and improve your work. As a former Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter, Cameron Conaway knows a lot about failure and the value of confronting fear and risk head on, literally. At the same time, Cameron also knows the importance of reflecting and pivoting to become more successful – and he has used that understanding to not only win fights but to write powerful poetry. In this podcast, Ned Breslin speaks with the MMA fighter and poet about this difficult balance and how you know when it’s time to “tap out” of the fight.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Photo: Doug McAdam]

How are engaged citizens made? In this audio lecture, sponsored by the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Stanford sociology professor Doug McAdam argues that youth volunteering does not directly result in active citizens or a robust civil society. Instead, the responses to youth activism are varied and driven by historical and cultural context.

Resource: Audio
Case Studies : All | Academic Cases
No Results Found
[photo - Laura Arrillaga]

Arrillaga created Silicon Valley Social Venture ("SV2") in partnership with Community Foundation Silicon Valley (“CFSV”), a nationally recognized public foundation that had experience working with individual donors and had established credibility within the philanthropic field. Arrillaga formed SV2 as a donor-advised fund to ensure that CFSV staff would help guide SV2 partners leverage their expertise and funding to select high-performing community organizations, thus generating the greatest social impact. 

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - William Meehan III]

This case described the activities of Citadel Capital, a Cairo-based Emerging Markets Private Equity Fund, in Egypt during the tumultuous political environment following the Arab Spring and the country’s first democratic elections. The case focuses in particular on Citadel’s approach to investment exits and liquidation in order to realize value for investors.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - William Meehan III]

This case updates the activities of Citadel Capital, a Cairo-based Emerging Markets Private Equity Fund, in light of ongoing political uncertainty in Egypt and the MENA region.

Resource: Academic Case

The Global Environment Fund (GEF) is a private equity fund focused on investments in environmental and energy solutions in both developed and developing markets. The case recounts two previous GEF investments in emerging markets, a South African forestry company and a Southeast Asian waste management business, as examples of successful management strategies for creating value in emerging markets.

Resource: Academic Case

This case describes the formation and operation of Leopard Capital, a “Frontier Market Private Equity Fund” from its establishment in 2007 up through the end of 2012. The case focuses on the fund’s founder, Douglas Clayton, and his history doing business in Asia and what led him to the decision to start Leopard Capital as a Cambodia- focused private equity fund, and later to expand into other frontier markets such as Mynmar, Mongolia, and Haiti. 

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Jesper B. Sorensen]

Mobius Motors manufactures and sells low-cost cars in the Kenyan market. The company strives to make the cars such that they are affordable, yet still perform well on Africa’s generally poor road networks. The company has attracted a lot of attention from development and venture financiers, and has ambitious plans to expand throughout the African continent. However, Mobius’s fleet of vehicle is still currently very small, and the company faces many strategic challenges on both the demand and the supply side of the business. 

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Charles Holloway]

Venture capitalist Atul Kapadia was inclined to provide seed funding for Sujeet Kumar and Michael Sinkula to found Envia Systems, a lithium-ion battery company. Admittedly, Envia was little more than the founders’ vision of an affordable electric vehicle and the potential of playing in a very large market. But for Kapadia, it was precisely these two key ingredients that made Envia attractive and akin to other early-stage investments he had made at Bay Partners.

Resource: Academic Case

In 2009, software giant SAP funded an initiative that aims to reinforce the shea nut and butter value chain in Ghana. The program, which also involves microfinance organizations PlaNet Finance, Grameen Ghana and Maata-N-Tudu, uses microfinance, education, and information technology to improve the conditions of shea women. Since enrolling in the program, women have seen significant improvements in income. This case study examines program progress to date and makes recommendations for program improvements using a value chain development framework.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Robert A. Burgelman]

The Kinetics and Michael J. Fox Foundations both support research on Parkinson’s disease. This second case explores how these two organizations collaborate toward a common mission.

Resource: Academic Case

John Goldman established the South Peninsula Jewish Community Teen Foundation in 2003, an innovative program that teaches Bay Area Jewish teens to run their own charitable foundation by developing mission statements, raising money, and distributing funds. As of 2009, the program has scaled to four chapters and raised and distributed $178,321 in funds. 

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - Laura Arrillaga]

Arrillaga created Silicon Valley Social Venture ("SV2") in partnership with Community Foundation Silicon Valley (“CFSV”), a nationally recognized public foundation that had experience working with individual donors and had established credibility within the philanthropic field. Arrillaga formed SV2 as a donor-advised fund to ensure that CFSV staff would help guide SV2 partners leverage their expertise and funding to select high-performing community organizations, thus generating the greatest social impact. 

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - William Meehan III]

This case described the activities of Citadel Capital, a Cairo-based Emerging Markets Private Equity Fund, in Egypt during the tumultuous political environment following the Arab Spring and the country’s first democratic elections. The case focuses in particular on Citadel’s approach to investment exits and liquidation in order to realize value for investors.

Resource: Academic Case
[photo - William Meehan III]

This case updates the activities of Citadel Capital, a Cairo-based Emerging Markets Private Equity Fund, in light of ongoing political uncertainty in Egypt and the MENA region.

Resource: Academic Case

The Global Environment Fund (GEF) is a private equity fund focused on investments in environmental and energy solutions in both developed and developing markets. The case recounts two previous GEF investments in emerging markets, a South African forestry company and a Southeast Asian waste management business, as examples of successful management strategies for creating value in emerging markets.

Resource: Academic Case

This case describes the formation and operation of Leopard Capital, a “Frontier Market Private Equity Fund” from its establishment in 2007 up through the end of 2012. The case focuses on the fund’s founder, Douglas Clayton, and his history doing business in Asia and what led him to the decision to start Leopard Capital as a Cambodia- focused private equity fund, and later to expand into other frontier markets such as Mynmar, Mongolia, and Haiti. 

Resource: Academic Case
Research Papers : All

Young companies trying to enter parts of the health care industry by focusing on helping patients stay healthy and allowing safety net providers to use their resources have a hard time attracting venture capital funds that focus more on traditional profit. A recent article by two Stanford Graduate School of Business researchers argues that it's time to change this pattern. 

Resource: Research Paper
[photo - baron]

Social pressure plays a major role in determining corporate strategy and performance according to an award-winning paper coauthored by Professor David Baron. The researchers find that social pressure and social performance reinforce each other, greater social pressure is associated with lower financial performance, and financial and social performance are largely unrelated.

Resource: Research Paper

Asking would-be donors for their time, not their money, is a better way for charities to increase donations, says professor Jennifer Aaker. Asking donors first to volunteer their time can positively shift their willingness to give both time and money.

Resource: Research Paper
[photo - James E. Emerson]

This study presents fundamental concepts of markets, capital markets, and social capital markets. It also highlights select initiatives underway in early 2007 that sought to improve the functioning of social capital markets.

Resource: Research Paper
[photo - James E. Emerson]

This essay explores how the lines are blurring between for-profit businesses and nonprofits that do social good. It outlines examples of companies that embody "blended value" and discusses barriers to sustainable capitalism, and the role of philanthropy in supporting it.

Resource: Research Paper
Courses : All
No Results Found
Innovators : All
[photo - Roger Coates]

Roger is currently starting an investment partnership for affordable housing in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Resource: Alumni
[photo - Jacqueline Novogratz]

In turbulent times like ours, we need “hard-edged hope,” says Jacqueline Novogratz, the much-celebrated founder of the Acumen Fund. Affirming that the world is indeed a better place now than it was 40 years ago, she traces her own journey from a childhood witnessing racial inequities all around her in Detroit to a career leading the field of social impact investing.

Resource: Alumni
[photo - Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen]

Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen explains how to make your giving matter more.

Resource: Alumni
[photo - Brian Cox]

The poorest regions of the world pose high risks for microfinance. Brian Cox, President of MFX Solutions, discusses how currency risk education can increase the flow of resources to Africa and other high-risk regions.

Resource: Alumni
[photo - Daryn Dodson]

Daryn Dodson is passionate about identifying and developing leaders with a social conscience. He has turned that passion into action by promoting entrepreneurship in post-Katrina New Orleans and in his current impact investment consulting role.

Resource: Alumni
[Video-Does Impact Investing Really Have Impact?]

Impact investing: is it actually investing? Or is it venture philanthropy by another name?

Resource: Video
[photo - Jacob Lief]

By a simple twist of fate, Jacob Leif found himself in post-apartheid South Africa, staring at a big paradoxical break in philanthropy - success was measured in numbers instead of long-term impact. While working at a local school, he found that supplies of books, computers, and daily lunches for the school children were plentiful. However, once the supporting nonprofit left after the funding cycle finished, the school returned right back to where it started. Lief decided to found Ubuntu Education Fund, an organization that works to support children living in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. In this episode of The Social Disruptors, Ned Breslin and Jacob Lief discuss the struggles of funding for long-term sustainable impact within the current philanthropic system of 12-month grant cycles.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Willa Seldon]

How do we prevent collaboration from sweeping through nonprofits as a passing fad? In this discussion panel at the Nonprofit Management Institute, Willa Seldon talks with experts Carolyn Nelson and Stephanie Couch on how to avoid wasting time and effort by effectively evaluating goals and necessities before collaborating.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Cameron Conaway]

In the nonprofit world, people talk about the importance of failure so often it has become cliché. Failure as a way to learn from your mistakes and improve your work. As a former Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter, Cameron Conaway knows a lot about failure and the value of confronting fear and risk head on, literally. At the same time, Cameron also knows the importance of reflecting and pivoting to become more successful – and he has used that understanding to not only win fights but to write powerful poetry. In this podcast, Ned Breslin speaks with the MMA fighter and poet about this difficult balance and how you know when it’s time to “tap out” of the fight.

Resource: Audio
[photo - Laura Arrillaga]

Arrillaga created Silicon Valley Social Venture ("SV2") in partnership with Community Foundation Silicon Valley (“CFSV”), a nationally recognized public foundation that had experience working with individual donors and had established credibility within the philanthropic field. Arrillaga formed SV2 as a donor-advised fund to ensure that CFSV staff would help guide SV2 partners leverage their expertise and funding to select high-performing community organizations, thus generating the greatest social impact. 

Resource: Academic Case
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